A chief inspector who hanged himself while in custody left a letter to the Commissioner of Police, saying he regarded himself a victim of the force's drinking culture, an inquest heard yesterday. Luk Wing-keung said in the letter, found in his cell, that he was aware Commissioner Eddie Hui Ki-on was determined to change the culture and to promote a healthy lifestyle among officers. But Luk had regarded joining in drinking as necessary to win promotion, the letter added. Luk, 46, an instructor at the Police Training School, also told the Commissioner he became aware of the drink culture on his first day with the force. His career as a policeman was to last more than 20 years. Coroner Ian Thomas read out a summary of the letter in court. Luk was involved in a traffic accident on February 18. He was charged with careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and refusing to give a breath test. He pleaded not guilty at Western Court on March 16 and the magistrate remanded him in custody at Siu Lam psychiatric centre. Luk hanged himself in his cell early on March 21. Senior Superintendent Chiu E-ping, formerly Luk's immediate boss, told the inquest: 'He was known as a good drinker. He was also given the nicknames 'Jaw' and 'mental Luk' because he liked to show off his drinking ability.' Mr Chiu said he knew Luk was an alcoholic. In a special report he prepared on Luk after the accident, he stated the officer had been impolite to his superiors while under the influence of alcohol. Luk and Mr Chiu went to a bar on February 13. Luk ordered a diet cola for the first round. But Mr Chiu said he asked him: 'Would you like a bottle [of beer]?' Mr Chiu denied his intention was to encourage Luk to drink beer. Luk's wife, Cheng Wai-yee, told the inquest on Thursday that her husband had given up drinking at the time. The coroner asked Mr Chiu why, knowing Luk was an alcoholic, he took him for a drink. Mr Chiu replied: 'I didn't think about that at the time.' The inquest will resume on December 31.